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The Legal Standing of CBD from Hemp

Hemp oil has been a legal import to the United States for decades, with regulators well aware that there is almost always trace THC and other cannabinoids (like CBD) in hemp products.

However, there remain many misunderstandings and stigmas associated with hemp. As a company, we feel we have very strong and well-researched legal standing for our business operations. We follow federal law and work with multiple government agencies to bring our unique hemp oil to the United States and the world.

To give you a snapshot of how we operate as a business in the legal cannabis space, here is a breakdown of the ways in which the United States considers hemp products to be distinct from marijuana:

  • Some parts of cannabis are illegal, others are not. The US Government defines “marijuana” (the government actually uses the archaic spelling of “marihuana”) as being specific parts (and not all parts) of the Cannabis sativa plant, including the flowers, leaves, resin, seeds (capable of germination) and a few other parts described more fully in the next bullet point. This is why both industrial hemp and marijuana are outlawed at the federal level – the government classifies any cannabis plant’s flowers, leaves, resin, etc. as “marijuana,” regardless of what anyone calls it: “hemp” or “marijuana.”
  • We use the parts of the plant that are NOT marijuana – the mature stalks & sterilized seeds. Here is the language of 21 U.S.C. 802 (16) that gives us the definition of “marijuana” that’s still used today:
    • “The term ‘marihuana’ means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or resins; but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.”
  • Natural cannabinoids in hemp products are exempt from DEA enforcement. Thanks to the HIA vs. DEA case in 2004 [PDF], the DEA cannot schedule even trace THC in the parts of the Cannabis plant that do NOT fit their definition of marijuana.
  • Cannabidiol is not listed on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Drug Schedule. The Controlled Substances List within the Controlled Substances Act Schedule does not list cannabidiol (DEA Number 7372) as a controlled substance. Schedule I clearly covers tetrahydrocannabinols (THC and its variants), their isomers, and other compounds of these structures. Cannabidiol has a different molecular structure and a different DEA Control Number. It is not listed in the CSA Schedule I and is not included under the definition for tetrahydrocannabinols.
  • Hemp oil is a legal import. MJNA’s hemp oil is legally imported under Tariff Code 1515.90.80.10 [PDF]: Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, Section III – “Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes”, Chapter 15. (Search for “hemp oil.”) In addition, our hemp oil passes all U.S. federal requirements for open importation. This means that hemp oil can be shipped anywhere in the U.S., period.

In summary: While there is still some confusion among activists, legislators and the general public alike, the federal definition of marijuana and DEA vs. HIA, support the assertion that CBD (and even THC) found naturally in hemp products (that is, products from the parts of Cannabis sativa that are excluded from the definition of marijuana) are legal at the U.S. federal level because hemp consumer products are legal at the federal level.

Post by Jeffrey Stamberger

Jeffrey writes media content covering the latest in news, medical research, policy changes, and product education from the cannabis industry.

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